They are objects of derision. Influential government officials refer to them as unproductive, of less value than others in society. The political party running the government aggressively denies them access to health services while putting in place bureaucracies devoted, in effect, to ending their lives.
The Jews in Nazi Germany? In the Soviet Union of Stalin? In a socialist paradise set up by the rabidly anti-Semitic United Nations? No...seniors in a United States governed by the party of President Barack Obama and his allies on the Democratic left.
The Democratic Senate health care bill makes it official: Seniors are America's new Jews.
An exaggeration? Yes and no. In no way do I wish to trivialize the horrific slaughter of Europe's Jewish population by the Nazis, nor the systematic oppression of Jews in history. However, Obama and the Democratic Party have embraced a worldview that allows them to go after seniors in much the same manner that tyrants (and the United Nations) have used Jew-bashing as a tool to accumulate power and steal wealth. Seniors are the new go-to group for this radical president and Democratic congress as they pursue power, wealth, and the cultural transformation of the United States. Every version of the Democrat health care bill -- with all senate Republicans opposing this war against seniors -- relies on drastically reduced access to the services for which seniors have paid through taxes over a lifetime, or upon which they may choose to spend personal resources.
The party and government of Barack Obama is astonishingly brutal about the value of that lifetime. A "senior moment" should be just that, they say: a brief period rarely extending beyond the 60s (for us, of course, not them).
This is government by those who consider themselves the intellectual elite, thinkers who insist that a free-market economy that has enabled the elderly to live longer violates the rights of the younger by disproportionate consumption of health care resources. The president's health care czar views the optimal age for societal worth as somewhere south of sixty years. The Democrat approach is philosophically founded upon the work of Ivy League academic Dr. Daniel Callahan, who mentored Obama health policymaker Ezekiel Emanuel and who advocates medical resource rationing as a simple and powerful solution to the "dilemma" -- lack of usefulness in the community -- posed by market-enabled longer lives. Simply put, the utility of a citizen's life to an Obama government is defined by the amount of one's work that can be taxed versus the resources consumed, and the government-defined value of the group to which the individual belongs. Seniors are just not useful, says Tom Daschle, the prominent Obama Democrat who continues to play a key role in shaping Obamacare, and it is time for them to accept the "pain" of less access to health care.
Too many Jews...uh, seniors? Okay -- let 'em die.
What Sarah Palin termed "dealth panels" are only a small part of a new bureaucracy that will stand between seniors and life. Small wonder The Wall Street Journal characterized Obamacare as an "assault" on seniors, while a British newspaper, surveying events across the pond, starkly stated that "the elderly might as well have a bull's eye painted on their backs. ... Creepy, right? It's totalitarian, it's ugly, and it's not the American way."
But it is the American way in a nation governed by Obama, who has a vision that requires some to have less so that others may be given more. And the vast middle class of seniors -- almost forty million strong with a lifetime of work and paid taxes behind them -- are the ideal scapegoats to fund a radical Democrat vision.
James Lewis describes the Obama team's approach with devastating clarity: they have perfected scapegoating, an "emotional high explosive that you can direct at will." And not just Will -- we're talking Bernice, Fred, and Gladys, the fifteen percent of the population who have the audacity -- an Obama word -- to age. Seniors now find themselves the official go-to group for a president intent on taking both life and property and giving to those who are younger, to people who are more diverse, to illegal immigrants, and to Democratic Party allies. Consequently, the Obama-led Democrats, with the help of intellectual and media elites, have declared open season on grandma and grandpa, with Newsweek going so far as to feature a cover detailing "The Case for Killing Granny."
In Obama's America, wrinkles are about as trendy as white belts and polyester slacks, and gray is the new Jew.
Democrat health care is one of many "audacious visions," a Georgetown University professor wrote, to replace a Judeo-Christian culture with a statist worldview. The founders were wrong, Obama says, when they unashamedly founded a nation based, as Thomas Jefferson put it, upon the belief in the dignity of each individual -- regardless of age -- possesses "personal liberty" given "by the Author of nature." Newsweek president and editor Evan Thomas, who called Obama "sort of God," takes issue with the view of seniors dictated by the "Author of nature," that rock of Judeo-Christian culture who demands in His Word (in Deuteronomy) that humanity "Honor your father and your mother as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be long..."
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob views long life and respect for seniors as a blessing. But the Democratic Party health care bill is no Deuteronomy. Long life is viewed as a market-driven curse, and for Barack Obama -- the god of Harry, Nancy, and Evan -- seniors are expendable.
It is not hard to imagine President Obama standing at a window of the White House, watching the Tea Parties and streams of protesters. He observes the multitude of seniors in the crowds, smiles a smug smile, and quietly whispers in their direction:
"If the Jew fits, wear it."
Stuart H. Schwartz is on the faculty at Liberty University in Virginia.